Vitiligo is a rare skin condition characterised by developing pale white patches on the skin. The condition occurs across all races and usually before the age of 30. Vitiligo affects any part of the body, including the neck, face, and hands. So what are the causes of vitiligo? Which are the procedures for treating this condition?


Vitiligo is a result of melanin deficiency. Melanin refers to a pigment that is responsible for skin colour. So vitiligo is a result of the failure of melanocytes that produce melanin. However, some scientists argue that vitiligo is a result of a reversed body function that causes the immune system to attack a particular part of the body. Read on to find out the causes for vitiligo.

  1. Neurochemicals

Neurochemicals are one of the known causes of segmental vitiligo, the rarest form of vitiligo. The condition occurs when the nerve endings of the skin release chemicals. The chemicals then attack the melanocyte skin cells, causing a poisonous effect.

Despite a lack of substantial knowledge on vitiligo’s causes, findings indicate that the neurons and stress factors contribute to the development of this condition. An imbalance in emotions triggers the release of catecholamines and other components that support their metabolism. The presence of these factors mainly contributes to the development of vitiligo.

  1. Genetics

Vitiligo can also be inherited from one family member to another. The condition follows an intricate hereditary pattern to affect a person of the same family. The heredity of vitiligo is rare as there must be certain conditions for this to happen. A report published by the British skin foundation also supports that this condition is hereditary.

The PTPN22 and NLRP1 genes are responsible for the occurrence of this condition genetically. The PTPN22 gene facilitates the production of the T-cells that identify foreign objects in the body. The NLRP1 gene triggers the manufacture of proteins that help regulate inflammation in the body.

  1. Self-destruction

Self-destruction is a common cause of vitiligo. It occurs when the melanocytes attack themselves. As a result, melanin production stops in that area, leading to skin pigmentation.

A study found that T cells play a significant role in the development of inflammatory vitiligo. From this study, there were indications of a protruding red ream around the depigmentation. The findings indicated the presence of lymphocytes escalated the case of vitiligo. The presence of T cells commonly inhibits the normal functioning of melanocytes.

  1. Autoimmune disorder

There is no specific scientific finding that explains the reason that makes the body attack itself. Vitiligo occurs as an autoimmune condition when the immune system reacts abnormally. The abnormality causes the immune system to attack the melanocytes, leading to vitiligo. However, tests indicate that this might be a result of UV radiation, which stresses the body. The stressors then trigger the body to attack itself.

An experiment carried out on mice grafted with human skin led to an important finding. In this experiment, the mice were injected with IgG in its pure form from vitiligo patients. The study showed that deposits of epidermal immunoglobulin contribute to the destruction of melanocytes.

However, the research shows contradictory results. The deposition of immunoglobulin occurs in keratinocytes and not in melanocytes. These findings indicate that the antibodies secondarily lead to the development of vitiligo. Autoantibodies help to show the presence of vitiligo.

  1. Sunburns

Although the causes of vitiligo vary, some doctors say that the sun triggers this condition. Exposure of the skin by vitiligo patients increases vulnerability to this condition. Specialists recommend the use of sun protection aids to shield the skin from damage.